An Analysis of Professions for Women1 A combat for women


东方教育 2018年9期

张雪儿 薛李嘉乐

Analysis of the passage


This is a simple speech through which the author indirectly advocated her feminism under the patriarchy society.She was oppressed a lot by the ancient system.Considering the historical background we can comprehend it further.The Britain was once a country in the 19th century the men are dominant in any respects.In the Pride and Prejudice ,we can grasp that the girls had no right of inheritance,so if they wanted to live richly they must marry to a young wealthy man.During that period,the industrialization was proceeding,in which the men made the most of the contribution to the production.Thus,men were considered as the leading force and mainstay,while women have no suffrage,and their fortune were not protected by law.The economic development influenced the culture,Women may get used to such kind of unequal treat so that gradually their own consciousness were inhibited.They performed a superficial s elf while the inner self was restrained or disappeared.Virginia Woolf hoped to call on womens inward mind and express them generously,dauntlessly as well as find out the way to the independence.

Degree of formality

Diction:Virginia Woolf tends to adopt ancient words which make the passage obscure and impenetrable.Also,these words reflect the authors writing skills and profound knowledge which,at the same time,add literariness and formality of the passage itself.


Pianos and models, Paris, Vienna, and Berlin, masters and mistresses, are not needed by a writer.

At present,we may not call our teachers masters or mistresses,for they are out of style.

Be sympathetic; be tender; flatter; deceive; use all the art and wiles of our sex.

Art and wiles respectively refer to cunning tricks and skills,here mean that womens exclusive charm.

And yet, if I am to obey your secretary and tell you my professional experiences as a novelist, I must tell you about a very strange experience that befell me as a novelist.

Befall somebody is a phrase that means something happens to somebody,which is only used in the past tense.Nowadays,we may be inclined to use the word happen.

Figure of speech:In this passage,the author applies many rhetorical devices such as parallelism,metonymy,synecdoche, metaphor, inversion,rhetorical question,synonymy,irony and etc,which make the passage more formal and the language more obscure,full of literariness.Whats more,add some interest and cause the audience a resonance with the expressions or comprehend the meaning better.


My profession is literature; and in that profession there are fewer experiences for women than in any other, with the exception of the stage--fewer, I mean, that are peculiar to women.

Stage here means drama or theater.

Pianos and models, Paris, Vienna, and Berlin, masters and mistresses, are not needed by a writer.

Pianos,Vienna and Berlin mean music.Models and Paris mean painting.

I have to admit that instead of spending that sum upon bread and butter, rent, shoes and stockings, or butchers bills.

Butchers bills refer to meat.



I have to admit that instead of spending that sum upon bread and butter, rent, shoes and stockings, or butchers bills.

Bread and butter here refer to food while shoes and stockings refer to clothing.

He wants to see the same faces, to read the same books, to do the same things day after day, month after month, while he is writing,

Faces refer to people.



The family peace was not broken by the scratching of a pen.

You have only got to figure to yourselves a girl in a bedroom with a pen in her hand.She had only to move that pen from left to right--from ten oclock to one.

Directly, that is to say, I took my pen in my hand to review that novel by a famous man.

I want you to figure to yourselves a girl sitting with a pen in her hand, which for minutes, and indeed for hours, she never dips into the inkpot.

The phrases above are all equal to writing.



Writing was a reputable and harmless occupation.

No demand was made upon the family purse. For ten and sixpence one can buy paper enough to write all the plays of Shakespeare--if one has a mind that way.

The author indirectly states the advantages of writing and how frugal it is.



To discuss and define them is I think of great value and importance; for thus only can the labor be shared, the difficulties be solved.

Willingly would I stay and discuss those questions and answers--but not tonight.

Inverted sentences can express emphasis on the meaning.



And while I was writing this review, I discovered that if I were going to review books I should need to do battle with a certain phantom.

Phantom means the conventional prejudice.

And the phantom was a woman, and when I came to know her better I called her after the heroine of a famous poem, The Angel in the House.

The Angel in the House means the conventional prejudice.

You have won rooms of your own in the house hitherto exclusively owned by men.

A room of ones own means that women should be independent financially or in any respects.


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